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"I have been out recruiting all day. We take the rules very serious and work very hard to stay compliant with them. We made a mistake on [sic]"
"In reality there are no excuses and I am glad we realized it when we did so we didn't repeat it that day."
The reality is, as difficult as it may seem to outsiders, it’s plausible that the Indiana staff did make a mistake and inadvertently sent Crean out to see a top target one day after the contact period ended. Someone on Indiana's staff could have watched Harris workout that day, but not speak to him as IU admitted to doing. There’s a clear-cut violation here, but there’s a gray area in terms of the intent. Therefore, barring an investigation that turns up something more, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal.
In situations like this, coaches with successful records of compliance deserve the benefit of the doubt. Surely there are some who take issue with Crean and will use this against him in recruiting. Some won’t buy the excuse but for every guy who questions Crean’s motives or judgments, you’ll find another coach who’s glad it didn’t happen to him. This particular violation is more embarrassing than it is intentional.
The reality of recruiting is this: there are bigger fish to fry and more pertinent topics to ruffle your feathers over. We’re in an era of blatant disregard for basic recruiting rules. Across the country, prospective student-athletes (that’s an NCAA word, not mine) are jumping on planes this weekend to take unofficial visits. Don’t think for one second all of them are paying their own way. While Indiana fills out its NCAA paperwork, another assistant from another school is illegally meeting with a player and his parents. [...] Yes, Crean and Indiana violated a rule. They’re going to receive a punishment that fits the crime. However, the real crime is that the real infractions -- the ones that involve cold hard cash and tilt the playing field to create a competitive disadvantage -- will continue to go unchecked, unreported and most certainly unpunished.